Understanding Dirt-Cheap Error Fares

Let's say you don't have a credit card filled with miles ready to take advantage of travel hacking deals... What other options are there if you need to find a really cheap flight?

Error fares are perfect for Nomads with big travel dreams who want to take their dollar further. And let's be real– if you are traveling long-term, especially to cheaper destinations, your airfare is going to be your biggest expense. Learning how to use error fares at least once a year can really save you big– and we're talking hundreds of dollars– that can be put toward much better things like a hotel night or a ticket to another destination.

Believe it or not, airline pricing mistakes happen all the time. Here are some pretty epic ones that are recent:


What creates an Error Fare?

Error fares, otherwise known as error fares or airline pricing glitches, are reduced flights ticket due to a mistake. Various mishaps can create a mistake fare – here are just a few.


Human error

Have you ever wondered how airfares are published and prices are set? This requires human intervention and with that comes room for human error. Third-party software vendors sometimes don't put in prices correctly and this can result in mistake fares.

This type of error fare has a high chance of not being honored, so book with the intent that the fare may be refunded. These error fares are also rare.


Currency Conversion Mishaps



Calculating a rate from one currency to another poses a huge risk for miscalculations. To the left you can see a big mistake with buying a flight from Sydney, Australia to Dubai, United Arab Emirates for 624 Kroner... equivalent to $69.54 USD!

Sometimes paying for a flight in a weaker currency can bump the price down. You don't have to rely on error fares to try this trick out. 


OTA Glitches

Sometimes Online Travel Agencies (OTA) can be the cause of an error fare.. A glitch on the OTA systems can simply cause this to occur with very little understanding why. 

An OTA Glitch cannot be found elsewhere other than the Online Travel Agency.


Dropping Fuel Surcharges & Fees / Self-Dumping

One Mile At A Time

One Mile At A Time

Fuel surcharges were first created in the 70’s during the oil crisis to accommodate fluctuating prices. Fuel surcharges were kept to prevent frequent flyer programs from allowing people to book 100% free tickets using miles (you must always still pay these additional fees). But sometimes these charges may be dropped by mistake. Fuel surcharges make up a surprising percentage of an airline ticket, so dropping them can result in huge savings.

A Note on Fuel Dumping: Fuel dumping is not the same as self-dumping. This is a practice for larger aircrafts that need to lighten weight quickly for landing. Diesel is dropped at high altitudes over the ocean from a aircraft's wing. Even if it evaporates before it hits the water, this is not a practice we condone to achieve a cheap ticket.


Where Can I Find Error Fares?

Secret Flying is our favorite for finding Error Fares. We typically post great deals on our Facebook Page. We notice Error Fares tend to favor Western countries, and Secret Flying tends to be more diverse in the country deals.

Some other great resources for finding mistake fares include The Flight DealI Want That Flight (Australia), Fly4FreeAirfarewatchdogFlyerTalk Mileage Run forumsFareCompare, and SkyScanner.


Final Thoughts and Tips

Don’t forget the number-one rule of the error fare club: you don’t talk about error fares, at least not to the airlines themselves. Never contact the agency or airline about it. Just don’t. You’re risking a cancellation not only for yourself, but for everyone else who booked and is hoping to fly it.

Also keep in mind: Airlines are allowed to cancel mispriced tickets. So you don't want to rely on these tickets for any important travel, because it's definitely not a reliable method. But it is always worth trying your best to see if you can save big to put that money toward better things on your trip.

What is the most incredible deal you have ever scored on airfare? Let us know in the comments below!

Tara Byrne1 Comment